||Dicentrarchus labrax migrates between sea (SW), brackish and fresh water (FW) where chloride concentrations and requirements for chloride handling change: in FW, fish absorb chloride and restrict renal losses; in SW, they excrete chloride. In this study, the expression and localization of ClC-3 and Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase (NKA) were studied in fish adapted to SW, or exposed to FW from 10 min to 30 days. In gills, NKA-alpha1 subunit expression transiently increased from 10 min and reached a stabilized intermediate expression level after 24 h in FW. ClC-3 co-localized with NKA in the basolateral membrane of mitochondria-rich cells (MRCs) at all conditions. The intensity of MRC ClC-3 immunostaining was significantly higher (by 50 %) 1 h after the transfer to FW, whereas the branchial ClC-3 protein expression was 30 % higher 7 days after the transfer as compared to SW. This is consistent with the increased number of immunopositive MRCs (immunostained for NKA and ClC-3). However, the ClC-3 mRNA expression was significantly lower in FW gills. In the kidney, after FW transfer, a transient decrease in NKA-alpha1 subunit expression was followed by significantly higher stable levels from 24 h. The low ClC-3 protein expression detected at both salinities was not observed by immunocytochemistry in the SW kidney; ClC-3 was localized in the basal membrane of the collecting ducts and tubules 7 and 30 days after transfer to FW. Renal ClC-3 mRNA expression, however, seemed higher in SW than in FW. The potential role of this chloride channel ClC-3 in osmoregulatory and osmosensing mechanisms is discussed.